Royal Commission report day 37 page 1

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The Royal Commission evidence for 20/7/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 37)

Const Robert Alexander sworn and examined


The Hon. F. LONGMORE , M.L.A., In the Chair;

J. Gibb , Esq. , M.L.A., I W. Anderson , Esq., M.L.A.

12995 By the Commission— What are you?— A mounted constable.

12996 Were you one of the party that was stationed in Sherritt's hut at the time of the murder of Sherritt?— Yes

12997 Have you any reason to believe from what you learnt or heard that it was known you were in the hut?— I believe it was known.

12998 Do you think, from circumstances that came under your own notice, that it was possible that the outlaws had full knowledge of your being there?— Well, I think they must have.

12999 You received provisions regularly?— Yes.

13000 And they came during the day?— Yes, we usually brought the provisions to the hut.

13001 Who usually brought the provisions to the hut?— They came–I do not know the name of the party–they came by a spring cart. I think Mr. Reynolds of Beechworth brought them.

13002 Then, if it was your opinion that it was known you were there, you might expect to be attacked at any time?— Yes.

13003 At the time that Sherritt was shot was there any length of time between the first notice that Sherritt got of the presence of the outlaws and the time he was shot?— I do not quite understand you.

13004 He was asked to open the door?— Yes.

13005 How soon after that was it he was shot?— About a minute.

13006 You had all gone into the inner room to escape notice?— There were three, Armstrong, Dowling, and I in the inner room, and Duross in the sitting room. As soon as Sherritt spoke to this man at the door Duross came into the room where we were.

13007 Could he be seen from the outside going in?— Oh, yes, he could.

13008 There has been a good deal said about your conduct under the circumstances. Did you consider if any of you came out that you would be liable to be shot on the instant?— Yes, I think we would have all been shot.

13009 Did you understand that the parties outside were near the premises?— Yes, when Mrs. Sherritt went outside the house they got close to the house, and when she came inside they kept away from the house. It was by the sound of voices that I judged.

13010 Had you the impression that they had full control over the house from the front door and back?— Yes.

13011 Were the doors wide open?— About half open. I have a plan–[producing the same].

13012 You have been thinking over this a good deal–do you think if you were in the same position again that you would be justified in doing us you did?— It would be according to who would be in charge –according to the person in charge I would act.

13013 Would you have gone out if you had been asked to go?— Yes, I said I would go.

13014 Armstrong was in charge?— Yes.

13015 Did Armstrong consider, when you spoke of it, that you would be running an imminent risk of losing your life?— I believe he did.

13016 Do you remember?— He said the party was too small, and if we kept our ground as we were we would do very well.

13017 Did the outlaws fire at the house?— Yes.

13018 Do you know how the house was built?— Weatherboards, lined with saplings; the saplings were about a foot apart, the interval between was filled up with clay; the weatherboards were overlapped outside; the weatherboards were nailed to the saplings inside across–it was that way all round.

13019 Then a bullet would hardly penetrate?— Three bullets went through the back wall of the bedroom, and one through the front wall; it went right through the boards. There were four or five hit the knots on the boards, and did not go through.....

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